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Tuesday, April 01, 2008
The Only Math That Counts: Election Math

A little while back I wrote my electoral college analysis, and suggested that Clinton would be a more competitive nominee that Obama.

Interesting enough, an article from Direct Democracy agreed with my analysis.

As Obama supporter and owner of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, wrote regarding Michigan and Florida:

"Clinton was the only top-tier candidate to refuse the ultimate Iowa and New Hampshire pander by removing her name from the Michigan ballot. That makes her essentially the de facto winner since Edwards and Obama, caving to the cry babies in Iowa and New Hampshire, took their name off Michigan's ballot. Sure, the DNC has stripped Michigan of its delegates, but that won't last through the convention. The last thing Democrats can afford is to alienate swing states like Michigan and Florida by refusing to seat their delegates. So while Obama and Edwards kneecap their chances of winning, Clinton is single-mindedly focused on the goal."

Given that reality, the question the superdelegates need to ask themselves is, Who can win the general election? I'll make this as simple as possible: Obama cannot win.

Regardless of how well Obama did in some deep-red state Democratic caucuses, the truth is that the Wright fiasco, McCain's appeal to independents and Hispanics, the fact that nearly 1 in 3 Hillary voters may defect to McCain, and the well-oiled Republican attack machine will leave Obama, at best, where John Kerry was in August 2004, that is fighting desperately to reach 270.

Here's the best case scenario for Obama: He wins all the states John Kerry won except New Hampshire. It's McCain 290, Obama 248. [Add Michigan and New Hampshire, it's McCain 320, Obama 218.]

Here's a list of states Hillary would likely win: Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. It's Hillary 315, McCain 223. With Obama on the ticket, McCain is likely to carry most of these states. Kerry won Pennsylvania by less than 2% in 2004 and only 12 out of 67 counties. Giving Obama Iowa, it's McCain 300, Obama 238.

My hunch is that the Democratic leaders like Pelosi, Dean, and others are aware of this reality. That's why they want to shut the process down now and begin the formidable task of taking on McCain sooner rather than later. Their first task, of course, is to consolidate the base; no easy job considering many Hillary supporters think an Obama nomination illegitimate by denying her Michigan and Florida. It's also why DNC Chairman Howard Dean is saying that the most democratic process is hurting Democratic chances in the Fall.

I say on with this primary. If Obama manages to become the nominee but still wins only one or two of the remaining states, then it's going to be a problem for him. He needs to effectively woo some of the Clinton coalition to be a viable candidate, in the same way that she must woo his.